Brushing & Flossing with Braces


A beautiful smile is the end goal of every patient that comes to Coastal Carolina Orthodontics seeking orthodontic treatment. However, while orthodontic treatment like braces and Invisalign can straighten your smile, it is up to you to continue to keep it healthy. The best preventative dental care tactic to avoid tooth decay is a thorough brushing and flossing routine. By keeping up with your oral hygiene routine on a regular basis you will ward off decay. Then, when you do finally get your braces off your smile will be healthy and bright. To help you achieve maximum oral and dental hygiene, our orthodontists have put together the following advice on how to best brush and floss your teeth with braces. Let’s dive in!

Brushing with Braces

Food particles and bacteria naturally accumulate in your mouth throughout the day as you eat. Our self-regulated oral ecosystem takes care of a lot of this—saliva breaking down bad bacteria with good bacteria. However, it is important to do your part to maintain and regulate your oral ecosystem with an oral hygiene routine that involves thoroughly and regularly brushing your teeth. If your oral ecosystem is not properly maintained then your teeth are at risk for decay, gum disease, and other negative side effects. Our orthodontists understand that braces make maintaining a good oral hygiene routine difficult, but not to worry. Here are some tips and techniques for making brushing with braces a breeze.

How to Brush with Braces

To begin, squeeze a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste onto a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then lightly brush each tooth in a circular motion at a 45-degree angle to ensure that the bristles get under the gums. Do not push down as you brush; let the toothbrush do its job. Excessive force may harm your gums. In order to prevent plaque build up, make sure the entire tooth has been brushed well. If you have braces, brush around the brackets and underneath the wires when necessary. Be sure to brush around every side of the bracket so you are preventing tooth decay on all parts of the tooth. Once done, don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

How Often Do I Brush with Braces?

Our orthodontists recommend brushing at least four times a day with braces—in the morning, after lunch (or right after school), after dinner, and before bed. This ensures that food particles do not build up throughout the day and that you are able to maintain a pristine smile. It’s important to note that in keeping up with a thorough braces brushing routine your toothbrush will wear out faster. Accordingly, you’ll need to replace your toothbrush more frequently. When you notice the bristles fray or wear down, that means it’s time to get a new toothbrush.

For more on proper ways to brush with braces check out the video below:

Flossing with Braces

Like brushing, flossing helps you maintain a healthy smile and prevent tooth decay in between your teeth. Flossing works hand-in-hand with brushing and dramatically decreases your chance of getting gum disease or having tooth decay develop on the sides of your teeth. Although flossing with braces might be a little trickier, there are special orthodontic tools that can simplify the process.

How to Floss with Braces

First thing’s first, ask your orthodontist for a reusable floss threader. Our Morehead City, Havelock, and Jacksonville, NC offices all carry floss threaders and we can provide you with one at your next appointment. When at home, utilize the floss threader by pulling a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader. Insert the floss threader between your braces’ archwire and your teeth. Then gently move the floss up and down between your teeth. It’s important not to saw back and forth with the floss as you do this; doing so may harm your gums. Furthermore, be careful when working around your archwire, and do not floss too forcefully or put too much pressure on the threader.

If you have braces and are flossing without a floss threader, use the same technique described above. It will still clean your teeth and gums. Without the threader it’ll just be a bit more difficult to get the floss under your archwire.

How Often Do I Floss with Braces?

You only need to floss once a day to ensure a squeaky clean smile. It doesn’t matter whether you floss before brushing your teeth or after. But our orthodontists always recommend flossing at the end of the day so food particles don’t sit in between your teeth overnight. When you first begin flossing your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few flosses inform a staff member at your next appointment in our Morehead City, Havelock, or Jacksonville, NC office.

Contact Your Orthodontist Today

At Coastal Carolina Orthodontics, we work with our patients to ensure they understand tooth decay preventative techniques and develop great oral health habits. Our orthodontists and skilled team are always happy to show patients these techniques in person when you visit out Morehead City, Havelock, or Jacksonville, NC office for an appointment. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online request form today. We can’t wait to see you in our office and help you work toward a straighter, healthier smile!